A guide to the requirements of the Highways Act in relation to skips on the highway.

To report a problem

If you have a concern about a builder's skip placed on the highway please report it by calling 0121 368 1177 and the matter will be investigated.

Alternatively please contact us via the following:

Email: skip_permits@sandwell.gov.uk 

  • Contraventions of any of the following requirements may result in formal action being taken under Section 139 Highways Act 1980.
  • Contraventions of the Highways Act 1980 are criminal offences and may result in prosecution in a magistrate's court.
  • This publication is intended as a quick reference guide and is not a comprehensive statement of the law.

Where should skips be placed?

Skips should normally be placed on the carriageway (road). However, if permission is granted to place skips on a footway or grass verge, an agreed method of protecting the surface must be carried out by the skip owner or householder, (by means of wooden battens/plywood, etc underneath).  However, the skip owner will be held ultimately responsible for any damage caused to the footpaths and grass verges.

How much do they cost?

Sandwell charge for the consideration of an application to deposit a builder's skip on the highway. The charge is £46.00 for periods up to 10 days and £29.00 for each and every subsequent renewal of that permit for periods of 10 days or less, in addition retrospective Skip Licenses are £220. Please note there is now a facility to make the payment online through the MySandwell Portal.

How long does a permit last?

A licence can be valid for up to 10 days. For longer periods additional applications must be made. Even if the skip is going on the highway for half an hour it still requires a permit. Only one skip will be allowed at a property at any one time.

Who is required to obtain a highway skip permit?

The Council maintains a database of registered skip owners (suppliers), and permits will only be issued for skips provided by these suppliers.

Only the skip company can obtain the highway skip permit. To place a skip on the highway without first applying for and being granted a licence is an offence under the Highways Act and may result in a prosecution. If you wish to place a skip on any part of the highway a permit is required from us. Sandwell MBC do ask for 3 days' notice, however skip permits are generally issued on the same day that applications are received. As a householder, you must ensure that the necessary permit has been obtained before the skip is delivered and you may wish to request from the supplier a copy of the permit for your own inspection purposes.

The skip owner (supplier) has a responsibility to ensure that skips are positioned on the highway in such a way that they do not cause an obstruction to other road users and that all appropriate regulations are adhered to regarding lights, cones, reflective marker boards, etc.

Skip companies have to go through Sandwell's checking process before gaining 'approved' status. They need to submit a signed declaration together with proof that they are covered by public liability insurance to a minimum of £5million - the information provided is reviewed annually.

You should note, however, that use of a registered supplier is not a guarantee of a satisfactory service.

What if it is going in my front garden or on my drive?

A skip licence is not required, nor do you have to use one of the skip companies on our list.

What about the size and location of the skip?

The skip company and the Council will agree the safest place to put the skip on the road. Each skip should not exceed three metres by two metres in size. It should be noted that whilst it is not always possible to site the skip exactly where you want it, we aim to get it as close as possible.

What about if the skip is going on double yellow lines or in a parking bay for example?

Should a waste skip be required in a pay and display parking bay or is likely to affect a marked parking bay then a charge for occupancy of the bay will be levied. You will need to contact the council's parking contractor, APCOA, on 0121 569 4356, or by email to sandwell.permits@apcoa.com for notification and payment. You will still need a permit from this office.

If a skip is required where the area has other parking restrictions (e.g. double yellow lines, limited waiting bays), then the application will be checked by parking services and they may condition the permit appropriately.

Are there any other requirements?

Yes, there are other specific legal and safety requirements and Sandwell Council has a number of special conditions, which apply to all permits and these are outlined below:

Special conditions

Under section 139 of the Highways Act 1980 the Local Authority requires that:

  • The skip owner is responsible for ensuring that a permit is obtained before any skip is deposited on the highway.
  • The skip permit must be available for inspection at the authorised site.
  • The skip must be clearly and indelibly marked with the owner's name and telephone number or address.
  • The skip must be painted yellow at each end.
  • The skip must be fitted with two vertical red and yellow fluorescent reflective markings at each end (total four) of the type prescribed for use as rear markings on heavy goods vehicles. The markings must comply with British Standard BS AU 152 170 and must be marked with that number.
  • The markings must be clearly visible to other road users.
  • The skip must be positioned so that the longer sides are parallel to the edge of the carriageway and as near to the edge of the carriageway as practicable.
  • The skip must not obstruct access to any premises or the free passage of pedestrians.
  • A minimum of three hazard warning cones must be placed around the skip.
  • The skip must be lit during the hours of darkness with four lamps, one on each corner.
  • No explosive, noxious or dangerous material or any material which is likely to putrefy or which otherwise is, or likely to become a nuisance to users of the highway shall be placed in the builder's skip whilst deposited on the highway. No asbestos, fridges/freezers, gas bottles, batteries (car), tyres, fluorescent tubes, TV's or computer screens.
  • No inflammable material shall be placed in the builder's skip whilst deposited on the highway.
  • No builder's skip shall be used in such a way that any of its contents fall onto the highway, or that there is an escape of dust from the skip whilst deposited on the highway.  The skip must have a level load for the skip to be taken away.
  • On the expiration of the permit, the highway where the builder's skip has been deposited shall be left in a clean and tidy condition.

Further information:

For more information about how skip companies can apply to be included on the 'registered' list, call 0121 368 1177.